It’s hard to believe one of the oldest records in Track and Field is the 4x100m relay. The World Record of 37.40 goes back to the 1992 Summer Olympics and 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart.
I preferred seeing 3 rounds of races, with heats and semis on one day, and the final on the next. These must be 2 nerve-racking days for any relay coach.
In today’s Olympic format, only 16 teams qualify from the average of the 2 best times from IAAF permit meetings, usually obtained from Jan 1st of the previous year right up to the Summer Olympics. That’s approximately 18 months to get it right.
Once you qualify, then you choose 6 athletes for the relay pool, usually from the Top 6 from the Olympic Trials. However, it is not uncommon to choose them from other events such as 110 meter hurdles, 200 meter sprinters, and even your Long or Triple Jumpers!
The Commonwealth Games has 2 rounds of 3 “semi-finals” where Top 3 finishers and the next 2 fastest times advance to the finals. One has to look back at the excitement from Melbourne 2006 to realize “anything goes”.
A great web site with Trivia on the Olympic 4×100 meter relays is the “Full Olympians” by Herman De Wael.
For example, I like to see which sprinter had the longest longevity competing in the most Olympic Games.
I quickly came up with 3 modern day names, with each athlete competing in 3 Olympics in the 4x100m relay:
- Glenroy Gilbert (Canada)
- Dennis Mitchell (USA)
- Michael McFarlane (GBR)